Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) was recently named president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). NCSL is a bipartisan organization serving state legislators and staff from around the country by providing research, resources, and advocacy on behalf of states. Speaker Vos is the first legislator from Wisconsin to serve as head of the organization.
After officially taking on the new position, Speaker Vos provided Hamilton Consulting answers to the following questions about his experience both at NCSL and in the Wisconsin Legislature.
What are you looking forward to as NCSL president?
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the nation’s 7,383 state lawmakers and more than 20,000 legislative staff. I’m proud to be the first elected official from Wisconsin to run NCSL. During my one-term as president, I’m looking forward to working with the executive board on making the organization an even better resource for state legislatures. I’m also excited to work with the new NCSL Executive Director Tim Storey who I’m confident will take the organization to the next level.
How do you anticipate bringing Wisconsin reforms to the national organization? How do you anticipate bringing NCSL ideas to Wisconsin?
Wisconsin was one of the first to have an Assembly committee devoted to federalism. More states are now following our lead. NCSL has developed a working group that focuses on bringing back more power to the states. I want us to continue to advocate for a greater reliance on federalism to allow states to innovate and find solutions facing our country today.
NCSL provides educational opportunities and valuable resources for legislators and advocates on behalf of states at the federal level. I don’t see that role changing but I hope we can help forge more policy discussions across the aisle. Far too often, we’re seeing fewer relationships and discussions between Democrats and Republicans. We can differ on our political views but we should be able to debate the issues and try to persuade the other side, rather than just resort to name calling on social media. I hope we can bridge political divides through this premier bipartisan organization and help find common sense solutions to the problems facing our states today.
Why is NCSL important to you?
I believe the legislature is the most important representative body in state government; it’s the first mentioned in our constitution and the one closest to the people. NCSL strengthens legislatures across the country and helps lawmakers become more effective, which in turn, helps our democracy thrive.